Company Internationalization and European Works Councils in the Automotive Sector
Chapter 8: Honda
167 Chapter 8: Honda 8.1 The Honda Motor Company Ltd and Honda Europe Honda is seen as a special case even amongst other Japanese automotive companies (Shimokawa, 2003). The company is notable for its unique corporate culture, which continues to embody the spirit of its founders, and a long-standing commitment to technical innovation. Studies of Honda have noted the particularly crucial roles of the company founder, Soichiro Honda, who began as an engineer and enjoyed success in implementing a number of adventurous technologies, and his head of finance, Takeo Fujisawa (see, for example, Shimokawa, 2003: 163). The company culture, which both of these individuals enshrined and which represents an important element in the Honda Production System (HPS), is strongly marked by its entrepreneurial spirit, rejection of conventional solutions and imitating the status quo, and organisational flexibility and innovation. The HPS remains anchored in innovative products and flexible mass production (Luethge and Byosière, 2009; see also Mair, 1998: 100). In 2008 the Honda group consisted of three segments as well the cars division. These were motorcycles, financial services, and power products.148 The company oper- ates through a matrix structure with a functional and regional division, based on six geographical clusters (Japan, North America, Latin America, Europe/Middle East and South Asia/Africa, Asia/Oceania and China). In addition to the four product divisions there are also units for customer service, procurement and production. Shares in the company are dispersed, with no single large-scale shareholders. The largest, the Japan Trustee Services Bank Ltd, had...
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